Introduction / European Context
The Treaty of Lisbon places great importance on culture: one of the EU’s key aims, as specified in the Treaty, is to ‘respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and […] ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced’ (Article 3 TEU).
Europe has great cultural diversity, but this can lead to fragmentation when it comes to the market for films. We believe that we should embrace our similarities and come together to share our stories.
We believe that diversity is a value and an opportunity. We would like to reinforce the value of another cultural map of Europe, with the distribution and exhibition of films in languages other than the louder European languages. We invite public support for this important issue.
According to the European Commission the EU now has 500 million citizens, 28 Member States, 3 alphabets and 24 official languages, some of them with a worldwide coverage. Some 60 other languages are also part of the EU‘s heritage and are spoken in specific regions or by specific groups by up to 40 million citizens.
The Market share for European films reached a record high of 33.6% during the last year (highest recorded since 1996) according to the European Audiovisual Observatory. Whilst local productions are becoming more important in the domestic markets, if we take a look at the most seen films in Europe in 2014, 18 of the top 20 are in English, French, German or Spanish. We want to show that Europe has a much richer filmmaking culture.
Challenges faced by filmmakers in smaller and medium languages
In these global times when there is so much content to chose from,our domestic markets alone may not be big enough.
However, creators still want to tell their stories to the world in their own languages. The members participating in the initiative will work together to create new opportunities for those filmmakers.
Origin of the project
Following the need for an Exchange of experiences and expectations and for the development of partnerships and co–operations, the Department for Education, Language Policy and Culture of the Basque Government has fostered the project; Other European Filmographies: cinema in non–hegemonic languages; giving the different players in this filmmaking industry a platform to meet and jointly develop ideas and strategies to meet the challenges that face them.
In response to existing concepts of “small and middle languages”, the initiators of the Other European Filmographies: cinema in non–hegemonic languages project agreed on a definition that includes all the languages spoken in Europe except the ‘five big’ ones (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian)
Lines of work
There is a consensus among the 24 professionals from 15 regions and countries that the support for these filmmakers is necessary because:
– We believe that diversity is one of the great values we have in Europe. It is important to recognise it as an opportunity and a sign of our strength.
– There is a need to raise awareness about these films in our countries and regions.
– Given the need of every community to tell its own stories in its own languages, we defend the public and political commitment of our administrations to guarantee diversity in film.
– Given the need to reach broader audiences and markets, we will support networking and collaboration between the participating regions/countries to create new distribution and exhibition opportunities.
– Recognize the economic impact/cinema in others films and structure support.
Based on the principal conclusions, the participants of the 1st Meeting of the “Glocal Cinema: Big Stories, Small Countries” initiative, agree on an agenda of 4 points, aiming at a strengthening of the film industry for small and middle language cinemas.
CREATE AN INFORMAL WORKING GROUP
To propose and coordinate the different initiatives we will be working on and to share best practices.
SUPPORT ENCOUNTERS AND COOPERATION BETWEEN OUR FILMMAKERS
Organizing bi– or multilateral focuses at festivals or other events to create networking opportunities for creators, producers, programmers and young talents.
TO RAISE AWARENESS ON THE LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY OF EUROPEAN CINEMA
Organizing activities to reach and create new audiences.
TO INCREASE VISIBILITY OF OUR CINEMAS
Creating a visual identity for our group in order to make our films more recognizable.
Donostia - San Sebastián, Sept. 21st 2015